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Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Minnesota Opera presents Massenet’s Thais

Last weekend, the Minnesota Opera closed its 55th season with its first production of Massenet’s unjustly underperformed opera, Thais. Newoutpost’s ties with the mid-western company are strong (this blog, in fact, debuted with their production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda back in the winter of 2011), and coupled with our desire to take part in this significant musical event, we embarked in yet another brief musical pilgrimage to beautiful St. Paul. We attended the penultimate performance given on Saturday May 19th, and taking into account the audience’s reaction as well as the artistic values on display that evening, we can happily declare the presentation a complete success.

 

Gerard Schneider as Nicias, Kelly Kaduce as Thaïs, and Lucas Meachem as Athanaël in Minnesota Opera’s new production of Thaïs. Photos by Cory Weaver

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Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Arts, Opera

 

The Atlanta Opera presents Bizet’s Carmen

To close the month of April and welcome May, the Atlanta Opera presented one of its most compelling casts and offered a memorable reading of Bizet’s immortal masterpiece, Carmen.

In a bold decision, the company handed the direction of this revival (the production premiered in our city in 2012,) to director Brenna Corner, a member of the Atlanta Opera Studio. Ms. Corner was thus pitted against director Jeffrey Marc Buchman, who’s work at the time of the production’s premiere, we recall, left the door open for corrections. While some details in the direction of the current revival, such as the over-sexualization of the heroine during the first act, as well as introducing a mentally deranged Don Jose in the opera’s final scene can be classified as a misfire, the comparisons to the premiere generally favor Ms. Corner, who focused a great deal of attention to the development of her principals clashing personalities, and thus underlined the dangerous consequences of their pairing. From the pit, Carl & Sally Gable music director Arthur Fagen led the performance at a careful pace, adjusting his tempi to the needs of his singers (specially Ms. Abrahamyan) and making due with some uncharacteristic mishaps from the Atlanta Opera Orchestra (the french horn solo during Micaela’s aria being particularly cringe worthy). We credit him for keeping the totality of the performance intact.

Gianluca Terranova as Don Jose and Varduhi Abrahamyan as Carmen. (Photo by Jeff Roffman).

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Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Arts, Opera

 
 

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